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'Sea dragon' fossil is 'largest on record'

'Sea dragon' fossil is 'largest on record'

Science
The fossil of a marine reptile ''re-discovered'' in a museum is the largest of its kind on record, say scientists.The ''sea dragon'' belongs to a group that swam the world's oceans 200 million years ago, while dinosaurs walked the land.The specimen is the largest Ichthyosaurus to be described, at more than three metres long.It was discovered on the coast of England more than 20 years ago, but has remained unstudied until now.Palaeontologist Sven Sachs saw the fossil on display at a museum in Hannover. He contacted UK palaeontologist, Dean Lomax, who is an expert on Ichthyosaurs.''It amazes me that specimens such as this [the biggest] can still be 'rediscovered' in museum collections,'' said the University of Manchester palaeontologist.''You don't necessarily have to go out in the field to ...
Global food markets further threaten endangered sharks, rays

Global food markets further threaten endangered sharks, rays

Science
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Guelph found that the majority of shark fins and manta ray gills sold at markets around the world for traditional medicines come from endangered species.Roughly half of the world's 1,200 species of sharks and manta rays are listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature including 20 that may not be traded internationally.The study, published today in Scientific Reports, used DNA barcoding technology and found 71 percent of dried fins and gills collected from markets and stores came from species listed as at-risk and banned from international trade. Shark finning, which is removing fins from live sharks, is illegal in Canada."Despite the controversy around shark fin soup and the fact that many of these species are...
What's really the point of wasps?

What's really the point of wasps?

Science
A new citizen science survey aims to shed light on that fixture of summertime in the outdoors: the wasp. Though much maligned, these fascinating creatures perform a vital ecological role, say scientists.The only thing more certain to spoil an August Bank Holiday weekend BBQ than a sudden cloudburst? The arrival of wasps.At this time of the year, it can sometimes seem as if every outdoor activity is plagued by these yellow-and-black striped insects buzzing around your head and landing on your food and drink. Wasps aren't just annoying - if you are unlucky, you might end up with a sharp reminder that wasps, like their close relatives the honeybee, pack a powerful sting. That combination of nuisance and pain makes wasps many people's least favourite animals.Perhaps more than any other insect,...
Galapagos seabird's numbers expected to shrink with ocean warming

Galapagos seabird's numbers expected to shrink with ocean warming

Science
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A new study at Wake Forest University suggests the loss of sardines around the Galapagos Islands because of rising ocean temperatures has had a profound effect on the Nazca booby, and the effect is expected to get worse.The Nazca booby is a tropical seabird whose diet consists primarily of sardines.Rising ocean temperatures around the Galapagos Islands are expected to rise significantly making the water too warm for a key prey species of sardines to tolerate.The study, published Aug. 23 in Plos One, is an analysis of how the absence of sardines has effected the diet, breeding and survival of Nazca boobies. The new study is part of a long-term study at Isla Espanola in the Galapagos Islands for more than 30 years.Researchers found that in 1997 sardines disappeared from Nazc...
EPA plans ten hearings on water rule rewrite

EPA plans ten hearings on water rule rewrite

Science
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is taking its first steps to rewrite the Waters of the United States regulation under the Trump Administration.The EPA announced today, in a notice to be published Monday in the Federal Register, that 10 teleconference meetings will be held to gather information on its plans to change the rule, which is intended to reduce water pollution under the Clean Water Act.The first of the 10 meetings is scheduled for September 19 at 1:00 p.m., with the next nine held each Tuesday after.In 2015, the Obama administration issued a new rule reinterpreting the Clean Water Act to extend federal protections to smaller rivers and streams to protect against water pollution. Obama's rule was blocked at the time by a federal appeals court...